It seems the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has said that unity between Rome and the Orthodox world is “within a few months.” Well as much as many of us hope and pray that one day this will be true I hate to disagree with His Eminence but I do not think that is possible.
I do not think the day will ever come that the church will be “one” again from an administrative position. I think we might achieve Communion of sorts as we have seen with other churches but unification is not possible. Too much time has passed and there are far too many differences to be reconciled for unity to be achieved. I know miracles can happen but this would be a big one!
At the present time in the Orthodox world there are 9 Patriarchs and 6 heads of recognized Autocephalous Churches. If we include Rome there would be 10 Patriarchs. Yes we Orthodox do recognize the Pope of Rome as a Patriarch and dare I say would say that he is first among equals. Laying aside all other theological problems the Universal Jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff would cause quite a problem for the others in the club.
Trying to get the Orthodox to agree on something is sort of like herding cats. Oh we talk a good game but when it come down to it a turf war begins. Here in the US for example we have the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). This group recognizes 10 Jurisdictions in the United States and Canada. These are the Canonical Orthodox Churches in the Americas. Now some of you who read this blog do not belong to one of these Jurisdictions yet claim to be canonical. I cannot accept that nor would the majority of Orthodox in the US. So that is one problem. The other is if we cannot get these 10 bishops to agree how are we going to get a multitude of bishops to agree. Administrative unity is something that has been a goal in the US for many many years and sometimes is within the grasp but them slips away.
We have a bishop for example that does not like what a lay person is writing on his blog about him. He asks the lay persons bishop to sanction him and tell to stop writing. Bishop cannot do this after all this is not Soviet Russia. Other bishops stops his feet and pulls his seminarians out of the other bishops seminaries a week before classes begin. One of these very seminarians had just moved into an apartment and his wife was GREAT with child! So off they go on the move. This is the kind of silliness that should end.
I could go on but suffice it to say we have a long way to go before we can talk about unifying with anyone outside of the Orthodox family. Let’s talk about uniting the family we have before we invite anyone else to join.